Today's time: 24:08.
Andre J. Reis tries to get a rise out of us with this tricky themed Sunday. A long O sound is added to the themed answers, which are common titles or phrases, to make a new punny phrase. So stiff as a board becomes STIFF AS A BORDEAUX ("comparatively strong, like some French wine?") and kosher pickle becomes KOSHER PICCOLO ("woodwind that's OK to play?"). Very imaginative, and it plays off of English's non-phonetic nature to produce some interesting spellings of the O sound, as in VANITY PHARAOH ("Egyptian leader obsessed with his appearance?") and ROLLING IN THE DEPOT ("shooting craps while waiting for one's train?").
Lots and lots of little bits of fill I didn't know right off today:
I don't think I've ever heard of comedian LOUIS NYE, but based on the descriptions of some of his bits, I wish I could see him on "The Steve Allen Show."
Peach MELBA is a dessert of peaches with vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce. It was named after the Australian soporano Nellie Melba.
"I had a dream, which was not all a dream," wrote Lord BYRON, in the cheery poem "Darkness."
Did you know that OPEL ("Wir leben Autos") was sold by GM in 2017? Me neither.
GESSO returns for a third time, last seen October 29, clued this time as "white undercoat."
On November 10, DEV Patel appeared with the answer his last name; this time, it's his first.
I never read Infinite Jest, so had to figure out through crossfill that the protagonist is named HAL Incandenza.
I am not proud that I immediately knew "Dukes of Hazzard" spinoff "ENOS."
The powerful engine known as a HEMI is short for hemispherical combustion chamber. I won't lie; the Wiki article may as well be in Japanese for all I can understand it.
The full motto of MGM studios is ARS gratia artis.
Wrigley Field's walls are IVIED, apparently.
The movie Ironweed took place is New York, ALBANY specifically. I'm not sure this is general knowledge or guessable enough to be in the Sunday crossword.
ANA Navarro is a Republican CNN commentator who is vehemently anti-Trump.
Apparently BYU's mascots are the Cougars. Why aren't they the Industrious Bees?
Welsh RAREBIT is basically cheese toast. The name is, they say, a corruption of the original "Welsh rabbit," which sounds likely; it was probably originally an ironic way of pointing out that meat was an uncommon luxury.
Paul ANKA was an answer just yesterday. Here's his song "Lonely Boy."
I don't know MIRA NAIR's name, but I am familiar with the titles of her movies, Salaam Bombay! and Mississippi Masala.
Do you know what decreases a QB's rating? INT! That means interceptions!
The only reason I can find why an ICE SHOW could be "entertainment with camels, maybe" is that the Christmas Spectacular in Radio City Music Hall has real-life camels because of a nativity scene?
Dominik HASEK is a Czech-born goaltender knows as "The Dominator" and won the Stanley Cup two times.
Roman Polanski directed the 1979 movie TESS, starring Nastassja Kinski as the titular peasant girl.
And Inc.'s cousin LLC is a limited liability company.
Clever clues: "Things that people like to have ripped?" is ABS. "Long lunch?" is HERO.
My time: 6:43 . -- Benjamin Kramer serves us up an ace of a puzzle with this VOLLEYBALL-loving grid. The themed answers LIP SERVICE, th...
My time: 17:47 , just one minute too slow for the record! -- Ross Trudeau collected a series of cryptids from divers geographical areas ...
My time: 11:43 . -- Today we are treated to a themeless by Sam Ezersky. It's nothing jaw-dropping, but it's a solid Saturday. ...